By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor,
Washington: Zenith International Bank, the United Bank for Africa UBA and two prominent Nigerian Bankers and three other banks on Thursday in Washington won accolades from fellow Africa Bankers as they were honoured with awards. The Banker Award 2007 organised by African Business was held at the Grand Hyath Hotel in Washington at which the African Business and bank community were well represented.
Zenith was singled out of the several Banks in Africa the most socially responsible bank in the continent while UBA was recognised as the emerging global bank in Africa. Zenith Bank Deputy Managing Director was on hand to receive the award on behalf of the bank. Zenith according to the organisers of the event Zenith‚Äôs drive is not all about customer satisfaction and technology. It emerged as one of the biggest spenders for social causes in Nigeria. One of the outstanding social spending done by the bank was that disturbed by the state of roads in the vicinity of its head office building in Ajose Adeogun in Victoria Island, the bank collaborated with the government of Lagos state to reconstruct the road that pass through the office at a whooping cost of N1billion. This not only brought relief to the road users but also beautified the environment. But an area it made the most strategic intervention in its area of corporate social responsibility is in sports. Documented reports has it that it put in as much as N52.5 million into sports and N30.67 million to educational development. The Bank considers these as necessary efforts to give back to a society that has given it so much.
In the case of UBA since consolidation, it has expanded its initial business network to about 460 business offices nationwide effectively making it the bank next door. It has acquired several liquidated banks through purchase and assumption which has increased its network of branches further. With this, it has been able to achieve a customer-reach of about six million core and walk-in customers.
International analyst posit that in the industry, perhaps not many managers of banks appreciate the import of size and competitiveness than those of UBA. Accordingly, growth and plot of strategy for growth is a favourable past-time in the Bank. And growth has come at astonishing speed.
The Bank has not limited its growth focus on the core business of retail banking within the country. It acquired 51 per cent shareholding interest in UBA (Ghana) Ltd. and thus joined the chase for the West African market that remained largely unexplored. It also took advantage of the current comprehensive economic reforms of government to set up the UBA Pension Custodian Ltd. Due to it‚Äôs advanced technology, the subsidiary is now a preferred custodian to several Pension Fund Administrators and in the process, impacted positively on the Group‚Äôs cash flow. UBA also has subsidiaries in the insurance, asset management and capital markets.
Other Nigeria banks that won awards include Access Bank which won the most innovative bank in the continent, Bank of Industry Development bank in the Africa continent, IBTC won the best Issuing House while Dr. Cecilia Ibru won the Africa Banker of the year. Professor Charles Chukuma Soludo on the other hand won the African Central Banker of the year.